Hispanic Heritage Month has just begun and here in West Missouri, there are ministry milestones to celebrate!
Over the past twenty years, over five thousand individuals have been impacted through the ministry of Father Jose Palma at Grace and St. Nicholas Episcopal Churches. And, in 2021 alone the average online attendance for the Spanish weekly live-streamed service has been around 200 per week, with people regularly tuning in from around the Four States, El Salvador, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Mexico, Guatemala, and Rome!
These pre-pandemic events give a picture of what “normal” is like in this ministry. It is a sign of hope!
- A 2019 Lenten retreat involved over 120 adults and 50 kids from five dioceses, all hosted in West Missouri.
- The 2019 Lady of Guadalupe festival in Carthage had over 300 attendees for worship, half of them non-hispanic, and a crowd of over 500 in the street for the folk dancing portion of the event.
- The 2019 “Kermess” events in Noel — basically street fairs sponsored by the parish — attracted enough people that the city closed the main (and in reality, only street) for hours on a Saturday to accommodate those present.
Video: A celebration of Hispanic Ministry in West Missouri
The years have also been sprinkled with traditional Las Posadas, Matachines and Our Lady of Guadalupe Day celebrations, Lenten Retreats, Faith Conferences, Summer School, and Family Gatherings.
The vision of Hispanic Ministry in this diocese is to proclaim the gospel. How this began and continues today is included in Fr. Jose’s 2020 Hispanic Ministry Report (En inglés y en español. In English and Spanish).
Hispanic heritage is American heritage. Every year from September 15 to October 15. We can take time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and histories of the American Latino community during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
This year, attend a “socially distanced” local celebration, exhibit, or participate in activities that highlight the history and traditions of the culture during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn more about the contributions Hispanic people have made to this country by exploring this link from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Hispanic Heritage and History in the United States.
Embracing the history and traditions of another culture not only broadens our knowledge. It gives us a growing appreciation of other people, their customs, and the work of Hispanic Ministry in the life of West Missouri.